It’s safe to donate blood during COVID-19, and critical for patients

Saturday, March 14, 2020

We urge all donors to book and keep their appointments to prevent shortages

Canadian Blood Services is concerned by a recent spike in appointment cancellations in several cities related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the organization responsible for the national blood system outside Quebec, we are determined to keep our promise to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian. To do that we require the ongoing generosity and commitment of donors.  

Patients depend on these lifesaving donations. Every day blood products are needed for patients undergoing surgery, cancer treatments, and to save lives following traumas such as motor vehicle accidents.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory where products are regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs. The inventory is currently strong, but the recent increase in cancellations is worrying, particularly in light of the blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by COVID-19.

Donating blood in Canada continues to be safe. Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers. All prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This screening occurs during both appointment booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit.

Additionally, we have added new measures that take effect Monday March 16, 2020.

  • Anyone asked by public health to place themselves under observation or self-quarantine are not allowed to donate for 14 days from the date of their last contact with a case or suspected case of COVID-19.
  • Anyone with a case or suspected case in their household cannot donate for 14 days after the infected person’s recovery.
  • Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are not allowed to donate for 56 days after full recovery from the infection.

Our screening measures are evolving in line with public health recommendations and the changing dynamics of the COVID19 outbreak. We ask donors who have recently travelled outside of Canada to call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) when booking their appointment to confirm they are eligible.

These measures help ensure our donor centres remain islands of wellness within Canada’s health system. They are not places where sick people gather.

We urge all healthy eligible donors to book and keep appointments. The need is constant for blood, stem cells, plasma and organ and tissue donors. Canadian Blood Services adheres to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada including all recommendations for public gatherings during COVID-19. Should the agency’s recommendations change we will act immediately to keep donors safe.

More information on COVID-19 is available at To make an appointment to donate, download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

For the latest information, visit our COVID-19 update